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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

10 years of Flick Filosopher: cinema du serpent

It can be very frustrating to be the only person who really gets a movie. From my review of Snakes on a Plane:

It is, as you might suspect, very much in the tradition of that genre of socially aware, psychologically insightful films of the 1960s that Truffaut called cinema du serpent, that wave of deeply cynical yet also powerfully humanist works that rocked the sensibilities of adventurous moviegoers during a period of political uncertainty and cultural upheaval, asked them to reconsider man’s supposed ascendancy to a place of alleged dominance of the planet. And so it is again with Snakes on a Plane, David R. Ellis’s meditation on the primal fears that hold in their viselike grip even the most “civilized” and “modern” of us puny primates. Yes, this is a superb contemporary example of cinema du serpent, wittily harkening back to its thematic progenitors, but it is a marvelous achievement in its own right, too, laying the ground — dare we hope? — for a resurrection of the genre, a new postironic exploration of humanity’s relationship to our greatest mythological foe.

review of Snakes on a Plane, posted 08.18.06

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  • PaulW

    I think the problem that Snakes ran into was that it was the idea of a snakes on a plane movie that appealed more than the movie itself. If you look at all the pre-release buzz, a lot of it was fanfic/fanart that suggests people imagined their own SoaP scenario. Actually seeing it play out onscreen may have killed the buzz…

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